1988 Vanden Plas electrical issue

Started By: Michael Lindley on 2013-10-08 09:20:54

I just purchased this car and I have no power to anything (parking lights, interior lights etc) until I turn on the key and push on the brake pedal. Turning on the key does nothing until I hit the brake pedal then everything will work. I don't think this is right is it? I'm thinking there must be a relay that isn't working. All of the fuses are good. Thanks for your help!


It seems that someone fitted a good anti theft system. Does the car run?

Well, if it was a security system, seems like a poor one if all the theif has to do is depress the brakes.
I'm not a VDP or saloon expert by any stretch of the imagination. I'd first take it back to where you bought it to see what they have to say....but no, doesn't sound right to me. You should be able to start the car at least. Getting it out of Park and shifting down to Drive usually requires your foot on the brake to activate a solenoid to release the lock on the shifter....that is, if the '88 had this feature.
If your car has an on-board computer / control unit, that would be my first guess. A relay? Better get yourself a good manual on the car if you haven't already.

(Tip: if you have a bank of relays in the engine compartment against the firewall, you should go to the trouble to pull each individually, thoughly clean all the blade contacts back to shiny with steel wool or a Scotch pad, shoot some contact cleaner into the female connections, and push the relay in and remove it several times to clean that connection. Nothing worse that trying to troubleshoot an electrical problem when a relay isn't working!!).